I read this only because it was tagged 1001 to read before you die. I'm neither pro nor con on it. But BEWARE which version you buy. This is BS! My version, by Ballantine Books with the white dust jacket HAD NO LAST CHAPTER. It has TWENTY SEVEN pages of "notes" and preamble, most of it written by someone else and contained spoilers. But when I got to the last page there were just three italicized lines that said, "In the last chapter which has been SUPPRESSED," [he did this. Or the alternate ending in which she said this and he did this.]
If you order the Story of O, I recommend you ask if it has an "unsuppressed" last chapter.
A very serious read about total submission. The Story of O is about a woman, O, who wants nothing more than to be a slave to her lover. The test is severe--sexual in method, psychological in substance...
The most powerful story I have ever read. This is not reading for anyone with issues about the world of dark passion and sexual torments. This is an ageless masterpiece of love and humiliation. Arthur.
This was a very intense book. It goes beyond a "romance" bdsm such as you would find with Ellora's Cave. O allowed herself to be subjected to extreme whippings with cat tails, riding crops, and straight whips. She had her vagina pierced, and chains with iron medalions with lovers initials on them hung from her . Walking become quite a feat. She also was branded on her buttocks like cattle. She was brought to this "club" where she was passed around and debased by the men. It was very sad for me to read this, because both men who allowed this both claimed to love her at one point, and she certainly them. If one chooses this lifestyle, fine. I just do not understand the horrid beatings, to where her welts were black, and the being used by other men sexually.
It's very well written--I appreciated the style and technique. But Story of O actually gave me nightmares. I couldn't believe it, but I'd wake up in a panic, having dreamed I was chained to a wall. I couldn't finish it.
The language barrier took away from the book. Not only is it translated, but the terms are how sex and body parts were described at the time. I guess in present day we, as a society, are much more graphic. I was disappointed with the end...they omitted a chapter!
A very quick read. Oddly translated at times and shallow in character depth, but if you are intrigued by the BDSM culture recently hyped by the 50 trilogy, this is worth a look. It was highly controversial when it was released and a ban was even attempted. When comparing it to modern explicit writing, it seems quaint at times instead of outrageous. The build up is similar, but then once the actual acts take place, it often is described in one sentence: some version "and then he took me." Today's writers spend a lot more time describing the various acts. The fact that there is no real ending in this book was a bit odd as well. I considered this part of an education in historical erotica/BDSM literature, but not really my cup of tea.
I have had this book to read forever. I originally got it because it was on a list of books you have to read kind of thing. It ended up being a well written and engaging story, that did have some slow points.
This is a French erotic story about a woman named O who seeks to become the slave of a man named Rene. In her quest to be owned she undergoes a number of both sexual and psychological trials and training.
The translation I read was well done and easy to read. The story is engaging if a bit incomplete. At times there is so much sexual debasement in this book that those parts start to become a boring and repetitive. Apparently O's masters don't have a ton of imagination. That being said if scenes with whipping, restraint, or multiple sex partners are offensive to you...dont read this book.
There is a lot I could say about this book. As for the sexual content there isn't much in here that I haven't seen in some adult epic fantasies where characters are enslaved or tortured...the main difference in this story is that O is willing and eager to be enslaved and debased. I think those who are bitching about how this book demeans women are kind of missing the point. This same story could have had a male as the main character just as easily; its just meant to be a representation of the BDSM scene and give readers a glimpse into the mind of someone who wants to be enslaved.
O is many times asked by her male masters to give her permission for her initial contracts, which she always does eagerly. O despite being owned and passed around by a number of men and being totally at their beck and call has a different sort of power. This is more apparent towards the end of the book than the beginning.
I have also read that too much time is spent discussing clothing. I actually thought that the discussion the occurs around clothing was pretty necessary to the story. Part of Os obedience involves her being available to her master at his every whim. In the age of bulky bras and garter belts to hold up stockings; this involves O having to completely modify her wardrobe...which she does eagerly to prove her love and obedience to her master.
The ending was a bit disappointing since the book kind of ends in the middle of everything. There is a note that the last chapter has been suppressed from modern day publications, this is disappointing because I hate to see a story broken apart like that.
Overall I thought this was an interesting and engaging look into BDSM culture. There are parts where the sex/debasement gets a bit repetitive; I wish Os masters had been a bit more creative. I was also disappointed in how abruptly the story ended. Again, people be smart, if BDSM completely offends you dont read this book.
If you are interested in other media that looks into the psychology of BDSM (but from a purely entertainment lighter side) I would also recommend the movie The Secretary. This movie does a wonderful job of showing how a woman who likes punishment and a man who likes to dominate can have a balanced and loving relationship. If you are interested in a fantasy series that deals with this (again in a slightly different and fantastical way) I would recommend the Kushiels Dart series by Jacqueline Carey.
Enjoyed the first 50 pages or so; but then it gets very wordy and the story moves quite s l o w l y. After about midway, I gave up - disinterested in the characters anymore. I'm glad I gave this famous novel a try, but it just couldn't maintain my interest after the first section of the story was complete.
I saw this as nothing more than a pile of horny-porn. But I will defend to the death anyones' right (provided they have more maturity than a radish)to read it. It is not MY cup of tea, but no one has died and left me behind as literature god.